DOHA: Qatar has been elected the next President of the Global Public Diplomacy Network (GPDNet) at its fifth General Assembly which began at the Katara Cultural Village yesterday.
Qatar will take over the presidency of the organisation next June from Turkey, the current President, for the next three-year term.
“The election was held after high level discussions, both on the cultural and diplomatic level. This time it was held in a new format to cover everyone and this created a big challenge. Finally Qatar was unanimously elected as the new President,” said Darwish S Ahmad, Director of Marketing and Cultural Affairs at Katara.
Representatives from nine countries, who are part of the 14 member organisation are attending the two-day conference.
The opening session began with a welcome speech by Prof Seref Ates of Turkey, the current president of GPDNet, who is also president of Yunus Emre Institute based in Ankara, Turkey.
He said the meeting will discuss ways to strengthen cooperation between member countries to promote public diplomacy and raise awareness in the global society through culture and civil society initiatives.
In his opening address, Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim Al Sulaiti, General Manager of Katara Cultural Village said that Katara is striving to build a communication bridge between the Arabs and the rest of the world.
Al Sulaiti said Katara has made great strides in cultural diplomacy, through a variety of activities focusing on cultural dialogue and interaction between the East and the West.
“This is based on our belief that cultural diplomacy is the means to overcome conflicts and differences, through mutual respect, co-existence and acceptance of others and respecting their cultures. We hope the future would see more countries joining this network and joint cultural projects being implemented,” said Al Sulaiti.
Besides Qatar, other countries represented in the meeting are Hungary, Philippines, Nigeria, Singapore, Turkey, Mozambique, Taiwan and South Korea.
Giving a presentation on Katara projects, Darwish S Ahmad, Director of Marketing and Cultural Affairs at Katara said that Katara has an experienced team, 50 percent of whom are nationals, who are experts in culture and traditions and capable of engaging with the young generation as well as new technologies.
Katara held 572 events last year in diverse areas such as culture, tradition, education, diplomacy including major international events.
Katara is one of the top five in the country in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility.
It supports ministries and cultural and educational institutes with best content and ideas and help in the delivery of projects and programmes. It also works in partnership with several international organisations such as Unesco, Isesco and Alliance of Civilizations. “As a member, we have only one year experience with GPDNet, and we are capable of taking it to further heights,” said Darwish Ahmed.
“Qatar hosts expatriates from about 151 nationalities. Public diplomacy will help us reach out to the world, and to different communities. We can benefit and contribute a lot by working together with other members of GPD Net,” Darwish told media.
The GPDnet, founded in 2014 aims to enable exchange of knowledge and experience between member countries and establish bilateral or multilateral projects among cultural and public diplomacy institutions around the world.